Commentary: Time Without Facebook Focuses On Its Global Power


The six-hour blackout on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp has been a headache for many casual users, but they have used social media sites to manage their businesses, relatives, fellow parents, teachers and neighbors.

When all three services shut down on Monday, it was a clear reminder of the power and reach of Facebook, which has photo sharing and messaging apps.

All over the world, the loss of WhatsApp has left many people lost. In Brazil, messaging services are by far the most used app in the country, installed on 99% of all smartphones, according to technical researcher Mobile Time.

WhatsApp has become an integral part of communicating with friends and family in Brazil, but many companies also use WhatsApp to stay in touch with their customers in college and in day-to-day transactions such as food orders. to augment.

Offices, departments and even courts have struggled to make reservations, crushing phone lines.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians at home and abroad suffered from WhatsApp outages.

Many of the nation’s more than 11 million people use it to warn about gang violence in some areas and to talk to loved ones in the United States about remittances and other pressing issues. Haitian immigrants traveling to the United States use it to share important information, such as with each other or a safe place to sleep.

Nergie Mireille, a 35-year-old unemployed woman who relies on money sent by relatives overseas, said she stopped at a phone repair shop in the capital of Port-au-Prince because she thought her phone was broken. ..

“I was waiting for my cousin to confirm the transfer,” she said. “I was very frustrated. “

“I couldn’t hear about my love,” said Wilken’s Burgundy, 28, noting that her partner from neighboring Dominican Republic bought an affordable item to bring back to Haiti. I complained.

He said he was concerned for his safety as Haiti was suffering from a wave of gangsters and could not be contacted for seven hours.

“Everyone is worried about anxiety,” he said.

For small businesses, on the other hand, the Facebook and Instagram outages meant the loss of hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue.

Brooke Erin Duffy, professor of communications at Cornell University, said: She has stated that there is a broad category of workers who depend on the platform their livelihood operates on.

She is just one example of how entrepreneurs and small businesses become vulnerable whenever Facebook or others introduce new features or make other changes that affect the functionality of the site. No.

Sarah Murdoch runs Adventures with Sarah, a small Seattle-based travel agency that uses Facebook Live videos to promote its tours. She estimated that a power outage would cost thousands of dollars to reserve.

“I’ve tried other platforms because I’m wary of Facebook, but nothing is as powerful for the type of content I create,” Murdoch said. Regarding his loss, “Maybe only a few, but we are painfully small.”

Heather Lynton has run a portrait studio in Lynton, Indiana for 18 years. She takes photos for schools and sports teams and makes garden signs with those photos. She has her own website, but said her parents and other clients are most likely trying to reach her through social media.

She said she may have lost three or four photo appointments for her client’s $ 200.

“A lot of people only have a specific window when they can order, reserve, etc. She said. “If they can’t get a direct answer, they go to someone else.

Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp icons will appear on a smartphone screen in Kempten, Germany on Monday, October 4, 2021. The six-hour outage on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp on Monday was a headache for many users. occasional. .. However, the power outages were much more serious for many people around the world who use social media sites to communicate with relatives, friends and neighbors and to run their businesses. This is a clear reminder to us that many of the most popular methods of communication are handled by a single company, Facebook. In addition, prolonged outages can have serious consequences. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / dpa via AP)

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